it is the hottest point of the day. about 16 people are crammed into super america. everytime the door opens, the customer looks at the line, does an elaborate eye roll and limps back toward the motor oil and $5 copies of "horse whisperer" on vhs.
not this half-naked guy, a chubby sort with various sags that bring to mind peach jello packed into sandwich bags. the man squeezes through the crowd undetected by gas station authority. me, i'm wondering how i'm going to let him past me without making contact with his sweaty skin. or a nipple.
just in time, the clerk says:
"hey, man. you have to wear a shirt in here."
"what?" naked guy says.
"a shirt. you need to have a shirt on!"
the half-naked man backs toward the door and throws a final plea to the clerk:
"but i was in here the other day, and i didn't have a shirt on!"
and the door closes behind him.
"maybe the guy working thought you were hot!" the backup clerk shouted, as the man left.
and all 16 of us hot, crabby, cramped customers burst out laughing. me and my bottled tap water in an aquafina bottle. the girl with a carton of milk. the pregnant woman who spontaneously added a cup of ice to her purchase. the man whose face looked remarkably like a "kids in the hall" cast stew. and his daughter. ...
clerk one: man. he just brought sexy back.
[everyone laughs again. even the thuggy kid who didn't seem to be waiting to buy anything. he's just leaning against a display with his arms crossed.]
"so tell me," the woman with the milk says to the clerk. "if that had been a woman, would you have made her put her shirt on?"
[honestly, the crowd can't get enough of this hilarity. its like the super america has a built in laugh track or a live studio audience]
"if she looked like THAT, he would," the pregnant ice chewer said.
"especially if her chest was that hairy," the other clerk said.